So I teach at risk girls math at a residential treatment center. Tonight was parent conference night. Six hours of talking to parents.

The parents of girls who had made bad choices, wreaked havoc in the home, betrayed trust, put themselves and perhaps their families at risk……..and made their parents cry at night.

Their parents sent them here to us in Utah. They sent them to us not even knowing us, not knowing anything about UTAH . They sent them to us as broken families, frightened and scared.

So, tonight I had the singular pleasure of telling each and every one of them that their daughters were hardworking, lovely young women who were actually rocking at math.

I had to explain to them that I am, as their daughters would confirm, the hardest teacher they would ever have (I am, it’s a fact) and that if they had a good grade in my class it was NOT a “feel good grade” or a “pity grade”, that a good grade in my class was EARNED by hard work and perseverance.

I had the honor of telling them that many of their girls chose to be in my class, the hard class, and they did not give up, they did not whine, they fought for understanding and pushed themselves.

And then I watched a few tear up and tell me that their daughter had always hated math or had never been good at math………..a fact that always surprised me because, and this is true…….I have some really wicked smart kids in my class.

And I watched the girls sit up straight in their seats and smile. I watched them acknowledge the fact that pushing through, not giving up and working hard made them their own heroes.

I watched their parents find hope.

I watched as they listened, really listened to their daughters describe their struggles and their successes.

Parent conferences are not always this lovely. But today………………, I had the honor of watching parents see their child’s potential and then smile……..and learn to hope.